The holidays are fast approaching, and we’ve got 30 holiday recipes, new and old, savory and sweet.
For me—this might be obvious given what we do here on the blog—the food is the main event of any holiday! Though we may have smaller gatherings this year, cooking something special for our immediate households or even cooking up a care package to deliver to loved ones remains a way to spread cheer and show our love during the holidays.
Of course, this is the time of year where all of our nostalgia-laden favorite family recipes get dusted off and take center stage. There’s my dad’s Perfect Prime Rib Roast, my mom’s flooffy and buttery brioche, Sarah’s Strawberry Cheesecake, and my decadent Tuscan Kale Caesar Salad, plus many batches of Christmas cookies. You might even try a traditional Italian Feast of the Seven Fishes Christmas Eve meal!
When you have an excellent plate of food in front of you, it’s impossible not to be in good spirits.
I think the biggest compliment we get paid on the blog is when families request our recipes again and again, and we hope some of these dishes and desserts become part of your holiday memories this year!
Nibbles and appetizers
Everyone loves a fancy little bite of hors d’oeuvres like these stuffed mushrooms. There’s something about the labor of love of stuffing little mushrooms that just shows that ya care. (See also: deviled eggs. If anyone makes deviled eggs for you, give them a big hug.)
This fried calamari is tried, true, and loved. The first year I made it, it was a resounding success, even with a pretty tough panel of family critics and fried food / seafood lovers. Now, it gets requested every year. The secret is the blend of semolina flour, all-purpose flour, and cornmeal.
It’s hard to go wrong with a simple big bowl of steamed mussels with white wine, garlic, herbs, and onions, and a big loaf of crusty bread. Not to worry, we’ve got tips for making sure your mussels end up clean and delicious.
If you wanna go all out, this classic is a special favorite on the blog and one of our holiday recipes that always comes to mind. A homesick reader and military man stationed in Iraq requested our take on these around the holidays a few years ago. We didn’t know what they were, but we made them––one classic, and one with a Chinese twist––and oh man they are *amazing* and special!
You’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who could resist these coconut-coated, crispy delights! Looking for something with even more retro nostalgia? Try our fantail shrimp recipe.
My mom likes to make a big pot of this Shanghai-style Red Vegetable Soup, which was inspired by Western influence, throughout the winter. Everyone can help themselves at lunchtime or for an afternoon pick-me-up, and it’s so easy to make.
The Main Event
If you’re looking for socks to get knocked OFF, look no further than our classic Baked Stuffed Lobster with Shrimp. Straight from the family recipe archives and restaurant roots, this recipe was approved by hundreds of summer tourists in the Catskills, circa 1979. We’re here to help you break down the lobsters and make sure no one skimps on the butter. It’s the perfect meal to make for a small, intimate dinner.
If you’re a traditionalist, go for our family’s take on prime rib roast. Because nothing beats that slice of Whoville Christmas beast. Our prime rib has become a mainstay on many readers’ holiday tables. We’ve taken years of experimentation and learning and consolidated it into one recipe that has all the intel you need. Plus, it’s easy to scale based on the size of your roast.
One of my favorite Christmas traditions is the Feast of the Seven Fishes (we even have a dedicated Feast of the Seven fishes recipe list!). There’s nothing I love more than the challenge of coming up with 7 different seafoods and coordinating finicky cooking times for all the food to arrive at the table at the same time, hot and delicious. This Spaghetti with Breadcrumbs and Anchovies is spectacularly easy, but wonderfully salty, cheesy, briny, and crunchy good.
Christmas Fettuccine! (Anyone else conjuring images of The Holiday?) Our simple take on this classic recipe gets a boost from chicken and molten roasted garlic. If you forgot to buy a gift for someone, just give them a big helping of this fettuccine, and all will be forgiven.
Intrepid cooks and daring tradition-breakers, I see you out there, and this Orange Five-Spice Roast Goose and Potatoes is yours for the taking. Goose is highly underrated. It’s rich, delicious, and with the drippings, you can make AMAZING things happen.
Our recipe for Yang Chun Noodle Soup would be *insanely* delicious with a tiny scoop of goose fat instead of pork lard as a stock base. You get noodles for breakfast the next day, and you don’t have to prep the lard separately! It’s a win-win.
If you’re looking for an easier option to pull off but are still craving beef, go for our Soy Butter Glazed Ribeye. It comes together quickly and the soy-butter glaze transforms your standard ribeye into something much more interesting.
A holiday ham is a sign of the season for many families out there. I happen to love a delicious slice of ham. There’s something very special about it that breaks my brain every time I eat it, having grown up almost exclusively eating ham as deli meat. With a little plum sauce glaze instead of your standard honey treatment? Enough said.
Prime Rib Roast is pretty expensive, and a great alternative is a pork shoulder roast or pork butt, at about $2/pound. We’ve even seen it for $0.99/pound! Our take on a pernil-style pork roast is one of our favorite ways to prepare this economical cut. It has plenty of tasty flavors like lime juice, cumin, and chili, that makes it perfect for heaps of oily salty rice and beans.
You could also easily experiment and make an Italian-style pork roast with more oregano, thyme, rosemary, parsley, and fennel, and maybe a little red wine and crushed tomatoes in the pan. Serve with a side of broccoli rabe and maybe some cheesy provolone/mozzarella garlic bread? DANG. I have all the intel for you in my Italian Pork Sandwich Recipe.
This is another recipe that is sure to have your family oohing and ahhing. It’s not a prime rib, it’s not a ham, it’s not a turkey, it’s PORCHETTA, and when you pull this thing out of the oven, thou shalt be dubbed *fancy* and everyone will be clamoring (hopefully not fighting, but I can’t make any guarantees) for that crispy pork skin.
We’re also not opposed to a simply delicious, no-fuss roast chicken recipe. Bonus of this recipe is that it’s a two-parter. You get the chicken, and a pot of stock you can make soup with the next day!
Fluffy, buttery brioche bread with a generous spread of silky butter is great for family brunches, as sandwich fodder, or as dinner rolls for the main event. It’s another recipe that takes a little extra TLC and just says how much you like anyone who happens to get a bite.
Year after year, I come back to my Caesar Salad with Tuscan Kale because nothing beats that creamy rich dressing. If you’re like me and you normally go for a sensible lemon vinaigrette, this is the time of year where “sensible” goes out the window! MOAR DRESSING, PLZ.
Any one of our simple sautéed veggies inevitably ends up on the table, because we do love our greens. If you’re looking for a special touch, try our excellently umami-laden Ong Choy with XO Sauce. If you can’t find XO sauce, fear not. We’ve got a recipe for that too! You’re gonna want to make a big batch, because this stuff goes great not only with ong choy, but also with pretty much anything else.
These classic Chinese after dinner cookies are crisp, crumbly, and perfectly almond-y, with major points for originality. Lard gives them their signature flavor.
This copycat recipe for crispy and chocolate-y Brussels cookies has become a favorite in our house. They’re a little bit more unique and festive than your go-to chocolate chip cookies, and they go great with a hot mug of peppermint hot chocolate!
A festive addition to any holiday cookie package, these marshmallow treats are kind of like grown up Rice Krispie treats, with salty crackers instead of rice cereal, walnuts, pistachios, pecans, and dried cranberries.
You can’t go wrong with this perfect combination, and nothing is more comforting across all ages––from your mildly grumpy grandpa to the sticky-fingered little ones. Plus, you can make the dough ahead and store in the freezer!
Been watching a little too much of that warm blanket of a show, The Great British Bake-off, recently? Channel British national treasure Mary Berry with these Welsh Cakes. The dough is extremely easy to whip up, and instead of being baked in the oven, they’re made on a griddle, which means they’re excellent for brunch, afternoon tea, or dessert! The texture straight off the griddle is just scrummy.
One of my all-time favorites. Lightly flavored rum cake with a soft crumb and speckled with crunchy crushed pecans. I’m not drooling, you are!
For those looking for something a little lighter, our go-to cheesecake recipe with glazed strawberries is delicious, but still delivers that elusive holiday wow factor. The strawberries give it a lovely Christmas red and white color scheme, but you could also go for chocolate, nuts, or other fruits. It’s the holidays, and you on vacation!
In my book, you can NEVER go wrong with this cake. That is all.
For a dairy-free dessert, look no further than my dairy-free cheesecake, which we decorated with the fruits of the season—citrus! It’s no less creamy and delicious than the traditional version.
My dad’s palmier cookies are so beautiful and special—anyone would be delighted to receive them as a tasty gift! Fill them with chocolate, cinnamon sugar, or even savory flavors like rosemary!
What’s that line from the song, Home for the Holidays? “I met a man who lives in Tennessee, and he was headin’ for…Pennsylvania and some homemade pumpkin pieeee…” Well what about a homemade butternut squash pie? Making your own squash puree makes all the difference to Sarah’s tasty, smooth pie recipe.
Check out more holiday season recipes in our collection, and Happy Holidays from The Woks of Life!